Decided to sell my Renault 5 GT Turbo Raider to a friend and ordered a GTi-R from Japan in December 1999, paid £7,200 for the car which included all import fees, this felt like a massive risk at the time having only seen a handful of pictures and handing over a large sum of money prior to receiving the car.
Picked up the car in March 2000, it had only covered 27,000 miles in Japan and was in immaculate condition. Visited a rolling road tuner called Power Station where they increased the boost to 1 bar and ran it on the rolling road where it produced 276bhp at the flywheel.
By the end of 2001 I had lowered the car, changed the wheels to Antera 143's, fitted a Forge front mounted intercooler kit and upgraded the clutch to an HKS Paddle unit.
During 2002 I had the brakes changed to HiSpec 325mm discs with 4 pot alloy calipers, the calipers sadly didn't clear the Antera 143 wheels meaning I was forced to sell them. I bought a set of Kahn RSS's wheels, however these weren't on the car long before I started having problems with the clutch/gearbox, which later turned out to be a cracked paddle on the clutch. With the help of my dad in December 2002 we decided to rebuild the engine to a large specification and started dismantling the engine, not knowing I wouldn't drive the car again till October 2007.
Spent the start of the year buying everything required for the rebuild from Japan, was delayed waiting for a Gear Set which was being developed in Australia.
Engine was rebuild by All Bore Engineering in Newhaven, a company which played a massive part in the rebuild and I couldn't recommend more highly. By September 2004 the engine was back in the car. In November 2004 I took the car to RC Developments in Wigan and had a custom manifold and exhaust made.
Carried on buying the final items, which included a new set of light weight SSR wheels from Japan, semi slick tyres, an intercooler from America, custom made radiator, had the manifold and down pipe ceramic coated, AP Racing 330mm discs with 6 pot calipers and a custom intercooler run.
Car was fired up for the first time in March 2006, the engine ran spot on in every way, but the clutch was badly dragging, to the point the car started moving forward even with the clutch pedal fully down. Tried various methods to fix this without having to remove the engine/gearbox again, which unfortunately were all unsuccessful. In June 2006 dropped the engine out and took the gearbox off to look into the dragging clutch issue, couldn't see a problem with the clutch, so spaced out the clutch arm pivot, also got the gearbox checked over by another company for a second opinion.
Feeling dishearten by the problem with the clutch and being busy with other things, left the car for a year, started working on it again in October 2007, got the engine back in and took the car for its first drive in 5 years, had the car mapped at Abbey Motorsports with a running in map. Had the car MOT'ed, but on driving to the garage it was evident that the clutch was still dragging very slightly, which made it an effort to drive and they couldn't MOT it.
Left the car sitting in the garage for 6 months, before plucking up the courage to remove the engine/gearbox for a third time, this time we ditched the OS Gilken twin plate clutch and replaced it with a ACT Xtreme Paddle Clutch. This fixed the clutch dragging issue and was MOT'ed in August 2008. Spent the next couple of months running the engine in, had to remove the turbo again to fix an oil leak. In November 2008 had the car mapped at H-Dev, the power was unreal, it was pretty laggy but when the turbo hit full boost it was outrageous.
In April of 2009 I made the sad decision to dismantle my car and sell off all the separate parts to fund a mortgage, all parts sold over the summer, the last to go being the actual rolling shell in October 2009.